Sunday 25 April 2021

Belswick 30 - onto the pyre

Last time in Belswick, our band of newly minted mercenaries set out through the hinterland mountains of Belswick and the Stone Principality. Their goal: to negotiate free passage for their mercenary band into southern Arrayne with the border-tribe of frost giants. On the way, the group drank with orcs, haggled for canvas at a quarry, and partook in a nice paganheretical ritual at a lightning-stricken tree. Pyrrha the Warlock lost her powers and everyone gained resistance to electricity. At the top of the last mountain before the Three Spires and the lair of the giants, the group met up with some woodsmen from Arrayne, chased up the mountain by a storm.


Much manoeuvering around the Arraynian woodsmen, who seem very in touch with each other, even finishing each others' sentences. Their leader appears to be a strawberry-blond woman in the habit of inhaling purple smoke, who claims to be a trader from Arrayne looking for a profitable route into Belswick. Or, you know, they could be a nest of psionics spies like the ones that murdered the group's last patron.

Something you said?
Pyrrha gets something caught in her throat: it feels hard, and sharp, and is slicing into her as she coughs blood. A robin alights on a nearby rock, picking at Pyrrha's hand as she tries and fails to get the sharp object out of her throat. "Need help?" asks the tiny winter fae. "You shouldn't gamble away Grandma's Gifts so easily. Consider this a lesson." With the help of Barak, half-orc paladin of Saint Gormesh, Pyrrha manages to get the piece out of her throat...and wins back her powers, three days and three nights after selling them for lightning resistance.

Here's a Suggestion for you
At the campfire at night, there are songs shared by the two groups in a semi-comfortable setting. Pyrrha manages to wreck the mood by casting Suggestion on one of the well-armed 'woodsmen': "How about you tell us what you're really here for?" Before anyone can act, the man blurts out that they're here to trade favor with the giants and win Arrayne's armies a back road into Belswick. The big trick would be to find the Giant Jarl's lost silver drinking basin, which disappeared weeks ago and should be somewhere in the area.

The two groups look at each other and walk around the campfire a bit, until party priest and inquisitor Ungulu decides that it's fireball time. The smoke-wreathed lady counterspells his magic, and the fight is on: Ungulu gets hammered by two trained veterans, the woodsmen throw spiritual weapon spells, and the enemy wizard goes to hide and throw fireballs, only to get hit by one in return.

I cast fireball centered on myself
It looks like Ungulu is going he decides to up the stakes and cry out to his patron the Exile (local equivalent of Satan and Nyarlathotep all rolled into one), offering his life and any the Exile should want to take to bring his brother Harald back to life. And casts a fireball on himself, three opponents, Barak, Barak's pet boar Zendod, party wizard Guy and party fighter Shams.

After the blood rite, a detonation of hellfire claims the mountain top and all the baddies (including Ungulu) and Zendod expire. Guy, you couldn't make it to the session, so we hope your wizard could take 26 fire damage.

And in a corner of the field, Ungulu's 'silence-sworn novice' (disguised zombie) wakes up and takes his first breath since years.

I had NOT expected this kind of action when I plopped down some spies on a mountain top! But hidden character goals are a wonderful thing, and Ungulu with his many intimidating moments may have been one of those stars that shine twice as bright and twice as short. Also, his player has joyfully gone through four different characters by now, which is actually a bit under par for him.

As the party picks through the Arraynian spies' encampment, they all talk about Ungulu's unfortunate end. Shams the Dwarf finds one opponent still alive and drags him out of sight of bloodthirsty Pyrrha so the poor guy can clamber down the mountain in the dead of night. Pyrrha nonetheless tracks him down for even more information about the spies and their goals...and lets the man go.

Harald collects Ungulu's burnt and broken body and announces he will try to get his idiot brother back from the dead. This will likely take serious magic and deal-making, but the man seems convinced he can make that happen.

Barak, finally, unbothered by the raw emotion and skullduggery around him, loots:

  • 1300 gp in gems, nondescript coins and easily-traded goods [2 equipment slots]
  • a circlet with two gems that can be slid in front of one's eyes (magical) [0 slots]
  • a very bare but well-made amulet with a closed eye engraved on the back (magical) [0 slots]
  • edit: 2 packs of dense purple incense powder, and a shallow bronze hand bowl to burn it in. [1 slot]